William M. Evarts

William M. Evarts

William Maxwell Evarts was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1818. He graduated from Yale University in 1837 and then studied law at Harvard University. He was admitted to the New York bar in 1840 and over the next twenty years became one of the nation's leading lawyers.

In 1868 President Andrew Johnson chose Evarts to be one of his defence team during his impeachment trial. His four day summation at the end of the trial was considered to have played an important role in obtaining Johnson's acquittal.

When the Senate rejected Henry Stanbury as Attorney General, Johnson named Evarts for the post. This time the Senate gave its approval and he served from 1868 to 1869. He also served as counsel for the United States at the Geneva court of arbitration (1871-72).

In 1877 Rutherford Hayes appointed Evarts as his Secretary of State. He lost office in 1881 but was elected to the Senate in 1885. He was forced to resign because of failing health and suffered total blindness for the last eleven years of his life. William Maxwell Evarts died in 1901.

William M. Evarts (1868–1869)

William Maxwell Evarts was born in 1818 in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended the Boston Latin School and graduated from Yale College in 1833. Evarts studied law privately before attending Harvard Law School for one year. He then joined a law office in New York City in 1839, and in 1841 he was admitted to the bar.

From 1849 to 1852, Evarts served as the assistant U.S. district attorney for the Southern District of New York. He returned to private practice during the remainder of the decade and throughout the Civil War. Politically, Evarts was first a Whig and then a Republican he disagreed with President Andrew Johnson over the latter’s Reconstruction policies but nevertheless joined the President’s team of lawyers -- a group which also included Henry Stanbery -- that prevented Johnson’s conviction on impeachment charges.

Following the trial and Johnson’s unsuccessful attempt at renominating Stanbery as attorney general, the President tapped Evarts to assume the post. Evarts served for less than a year (July 1868-March 1869). Following this stint, Evarts served as chief counsel for the Republican Party in 1876, defending the legitimacy of Rutherford B. Hayes’s election as President over Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden. When Hayes emerged the winner, the new President nominated Evarts to be his secretary of state.

Evarts served in the Hayes cabinet for the entire term, leaving office in 1881. That same year, he served as a delegate to the International Monetary Conference in Paris. Four years later, he served a single term, from 1885 to 1891, in the United States Senate. William Maxwell Evarts died in 1901.

Hon. William M. Evarts

Dates / Origin Date Created: 1861 - 1880 (Approximate) Library locations The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection Shelf locator: MEZP Topics New York (State) -- History Evarts, William Maxwell, 1818-1901 Genres Prints Notes Content: Title from Calendar of Emmet Collection. Citation/reference: EM11671 Type of Resource Still image Identifiers RLIN/OCLC: NYPG97-F402 NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b13476047 Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 4a9f5ce0-c60d-012f-06c5-58d385a7bc34 Rights Statement The New York Public Library believes that this item is in the public domain under the laws of the United States, but did not make a determination as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. This item may not be in the public domain under the laws of other countries. Though not required, if you want to credit us as the source, please use the following statement, "From The New York Public Library," and provide a link back to the item on our Digital Collections site. Doing so helps us track how our collection is used and helps justify freely releasing even more content in the future.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC08878.0264 Author/Creator: Bureau Engraving & Priniting Place Written: s.l. Type: Engraving Date: 1861-1877 Pagination: 1 print : b&w 15 x 20 cm.

One engraving entitled "William M. Evarts" circa 1861-1877. Portrait of William Maxwell Evarts. Engraver unknown.

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William M. Evarts - History

AKA William Maxwell Evarts

Born: 6-Feb-1818
Birthplace: Boston, MA
Died: 28-Feb-1901
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Ascutney Cemetery, Windsor, VT

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Politician
Party Affiliation: Republican [1]

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: US Secretary of State, 1877-81

The American lawyer William M. Evarts was born in Boston on the 6th of February 1818. He graduated at Yale in 1837, was admitted to the bar in New York in 1841, and soon took high rank in his profession. In 1860 he was chairman of the New York delegation to the Republican National Convention. In 1861 he was an unsuccessful candidate for United States Senator from New York. He was chief counsel for President Andrew Johnson during the impeachment trial, and from July 1868 until March 1869 he was Attorney General of the United States. In 1872 he was counsel for the United States in the "Alabama" arbitration. During President Rutherford B. Hayes's administration (1877-81) he was Secretary of State and from 1885 to 1891 he was US Senator from New York. As an orator Senator Evarts stood in the foremost rank, and some of his best speeches were published. He died in New York on the 28th of February 1901.

Father: Jeremiah Evarts
Mother: Mehitabel Prescott Sherman
Wife: Helen Minerva Wardner (m. 30-Aug-1843, seven sons, five daughters)
Son: Charles Butler Evarts (b. 1845)
Son: Roger Sherman Evarts (b. 1847)
Son: Allen Wardner Evarts (b. 1848)
Son: William Evarts (b. 1851)
Daughter: Hattie Sherman Evarts (b. 1852)
Daughter: Mary Evarts (b. 1854)
Daughter: Helen Minerva Evarts (b. 1856)
Daughter: Elizabeth Hoar Evarts (b. 1858)
Son: Prescott Evarts (b. 1859)
Son: Sherman Evarts (b. 1859)
Daughter: Louisa Wardner Evarts (b. 1861)
Son: Maxwell Evarts (b. 1862)


Evarts studerte først ved Boston Latin School og ble siden uteksaminert ved Yale College i 1833. Han studerte deretter rettsvitenskap på privat basis før han tok ett år ved Harvard Law School. Etter dette ble han ansatt ved et advokatselskap i New York i 1839 og giftet seg med Helen Minerva Bingham Wardner i 1843, som han fikk 12 barn sammen med i perioden 1845 til 1862. Evarts begynte sin politikerkarriere som medlem av Whig Party og arbeidet som distriktsadvokat i New York i perioden 1849 til 1853. I 1860 var han New Yorks delegat ved den republikanske partikongressen, og året var han kandidat for senatorstillingen fra delstaten, men mislyktes i å få den.

Han var sjefsr๝giver for Andrew Jackson ved riksrettssaken mot presidenten i 1868, og Evarts ble i juli samme år utnevnt til landets justisminister. Han satt i denne stillingen til mars 1869 og ble erstattet av sin fetter Ebenezer R. Hoar. Etter dette tjenestegjorde Evarts som øverste r๝giver for det republikanske partiet i 1876, hvor han forsvarte legitimiteten av Rutherford B. Hayes&apos valg som president over den demokratiske kandidaten Samuel Tilden. Da Hayes ble erklært vinner av presidentvalget i 1876 ble Evarts selv utnevnt til utenriksminister.

Som utenriksminister deltok han blant annet på den internasjonale pengekonferansen i Paris i 1881. Han utarbeidet også en kontroversiell betingelse om at amerikanske soldater kunne forfølge kriminelle indianere over grensen til Mexico mot president Porfirio D໚z vilje. Denne avgjørelsen skapte store spenninger som var nære på å skape krig mellom landene da Mexico satte store styrker langs grensen som følge av betingelsen. Han fungerte også som fredsmekler mellom Chile, Peru og Bolivia under salpeterkrigen, men mislyktes i å oppnå noen resultater. Evarts avsluttet sitt verv i begynnelsen av mars 1881 sammen med resten av Hayes-administrasjonen.

Fra 1885 til 1891 satt Evarts som senator fra New York. I dette vervet ledet han den amerikanske pengeinnsamlingen for sokkelen til Frihetsgudinnen, og han holdt tale ved avdukelsen av denne i slutten av oktober 1886. Evarts d den 28. februar 1901 i New York City i en alder av 83 år.

William Maxwell Evarts

A portrait of William Maxwell Evarts.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

William Maxwell Evarts was a senior statesman and lawyer who served as chairman of the American Committee for the Statue of Liberty. When Edouard de Laboulaye asked his fellow Union League Club members (a group of people dedicated to the early Republican Party, the Union's cause in the American Civil War, and the abolition of slavery) to help raise funds for the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, Evarts quickly said yes. He was then named chairmen of The American Committee for the Statue of Liberty and held the position from 1877 to 1886. Evarts was the key figure in ensuring the success of the fundraising campaign it was his years of commitment to the project and his willingness to exert his social and political influence that legitimized the campaign before the press and the public.

Even more important than his fundraising efforts was Evart's political influence in Congress and with President Ulysses S. Grant. After much persuasion from Evarts, a joint congressional resolution that officially accepted the Statue as a gift from France passed on March 3, 1877. Additionally, Congress appropriated $56,000 to the pedestal's construction. Evarts died on February 28, 1901 in New York City.


We have already given a telegraphic abstract of the speech of Mr. EVARTS, delivered at Auburn, on the occasion of the great Republican mass meeting in that city on Tuesday afternoon. We now give it in full, as furnished by our special reporter, Mr. EVARTS, on being introduced to the audience, said:

Mr. CHAIRMAN AND FELLOW-CITIZENS: It is not with any expectation of saying or doing anything in the canvass for the party to which we are all attached and for the principles, the triumph of which we deem essential to the safety and true honor of our country, more than any other citizen who might be favored with your call to address you, that I now arise, and in the presence of this great multitude of sober and intelligent electors of the State of New-York, to say as briefly as may be what seems to be pertinent and important in the very stage of the canvass which we have now reached.

By the form of the Constitution one simple duty is now devolved upon the citizens of this country -- that duty is the election of a President and Vice-President. That is the extent and limit of our duty and yet a large part of our citizens seem to be engaged in anything but that. They seem to suppose that the question which was before the Convention of 1787, and which resulted in the formation of the Constitution under which we now live, is ever open to this people, and that is "What Government they shall have, and whether they shall obey it[. ]" Gentlemen, that question was settled for as, and it will remain sented long after we have all passed from the stage.


Now, in preparation for the actual and practical duties imposed by the Constitution, I need not say to you, that if the Constitution is to be maintained and upheld, it is to be by the performance faithfully and intelligently of the duties that are assigned to us under it, and their performance at the time and in the manner that the Constitution itself proposes and I say that in the preparation for the performance of that duty, various political parties have proposed for the suffrages of the citizens different candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of the United States. One Convention was held by the party to winch you, for the most part, I take it, and I belong. The Republican Party of the United States of America, in a Convention in which twenty-four States of the Union were represented, some partially, perhaps, but still with twenty-four States, the Republican sentiment was fairly and honestly represented. They put in nomination for the suffrages of the people of the United States, dwelling wherever they may -- in Maine, in Louisiana, in Georgia, in Michigan, in Oregon, or in California -- ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois, and HANNIBAL HAMLIN, of Maine. [Applause.] They are before the whole people, and there is nothing in the organization of the party, nothing in the principles that we propose, nothing in the character or purpose, the political conduct or history of our candidates, that should not as readily, as properly, as fairly invite a suffrage from the banks of the Arkansas, from the banks of the Columbia, as from the banks of the Penobscot or the North River. [Applause.]

Another political party representing in Convention twenty-five States, many of them fragmentary, many of them with disputed, and some of them, it seems to me, with sham representatives, but yet counting 25 States in some form or other, has also put forth candidates before the people. These are Judge DOUGLAS, of Illinois, and Gov. JOHNSON, of Georgia. They, too, are thrown before the people, whose suffrages are asked in their support.

Another Convention, representing in a somewhat irregular form, but yet containing representatives of 20 different States of the Union, has placed in nomination two other citizens of great distinction in the past political history of this country. They are Gov. BELL, of Tennessee, and EDWARD EVERETT, of Massachusetts and they, with what antecedents, what principles they possess, with what they have done, whatever they have promised, are before the whole people for its choice.

Another Convention, representing in some way or another by sham, substitute, fragmentary, or nominal delegation in respect of some, yet representing 19 States of the Union, have put in nomination Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Kentucky, and Gen. LANE, of Oregon, who are also before the people for their suffrages. And now the single question is, "Out of these candidates whom will ye choose to govern, under the Constitution, the people of all of the States for the next four years?"

Now it strikes us, at first, as something quite different from the ordinary posture of a canvass for the Presidency, that there are so many tickets in the field, and as quite singular in the history of all parties that in not one of these Conventions was there a representation of the whole 33 States of the Union. In our own Convention, as I have stated, there were 24 in the Douglas Convention, made up as it was, there were but 25 in the Bell and Everett Convention there were but 20 and in the Breckinridge and Lane Convention there were but 19. This, gentleman, teaches us upon distinct lines of fact, that are not to be disputed, that the sentiments of these people are divided in no inconsiderable degree upon subjects that are or were supposed to be connected with or involved in this canvass for the failure of regular antagonism between candidates, and of a fair and full collection of all the States of the Union, is an indubitable fact.

Now, gentlemen, there is one party which proposes to fulfill its constitutional duty and to confine itself to its constitutional duty -- to proceed without disorder and without confusion, without disturbance of the public peace or threats of the public safety to the election of the candidates that have been proposed for their suffrage. That party, I need not say to you, is the Republican Party but I must say to you that so far as I can discover, all the other parties in this canvass are determined that they will not perform that constitutional duty in reference to their candidates, and are determined that we shall not perform it for ours. I state to you as the distinctive feature of this Presidential canvass, that, whereas, the duty is that a President shall be elected, and whereas, we propose to perform that duty, all the politics, all the zeal, all the oratory, all the enthusiasm, all the promises, all the threats, all the hopes are that we should be prevented from choosing our candidates and that so far as can see, none of them propose to or expect to chose their own. Now, it is a little hard, Gentlemen, that a party which quietly, soberly and faithfully sets about doing that which, unperformed, strikes at the very foundations of a Constitutional Government -- to perform that duty which, failing to be performed, leaves our Government until the defect be supplied, without a chief magistrate upon whom depends the entire executive course of the Government -- that a party such as ours, and so situated, I say it strikes me as hard that it should be stigmatized in all quarters as an enemy of the Constitution and the Union. It seems very odd to me that all these other parties that propose to defeat the whole canvass and prevent the people from coming to a choice, should, on their various platforms on various pretences, claim for themselves the conduct and character of faithful servants of the Constitution and protectors of the Union against us, the Republicans.

Now, gentlemen, mark how the matter stands. Upon what do they justify themselves in this course? That we are dangerous to the Government, and that our success threatens the Union and the Constitution! What should be the way in which our opponents should act when a candidate is put in nomination whose success threatens the dangers which they allege? What is the way to defeat him? Manifestly by putting in nomination against him a candidate whose character and whose principles will maintain the Union and uphold the Constitution. [Applause.] This is their duty. That is the theory of our Government -- that is the plan for upholding it. Now, can they make the sensible portion of the United States believe that they dread the success of the Republican Party upon public grounds, and because of fear for the safety of the country, and they have not the patriotism, self-denial and largeness of views, to sacrifice personal interests and party success sufficiently to agree upon a man who can defeat the candidates of the Republican Party? Why, if they could show us that by defeating our candidate before the people, they could at the next stage of a Constitutional election in the House of Representatives be able then to agree upon a candidate, and thus avert these dangers to the Constitution and the Union, we might put more faith and have more patience with these, their views. But when they get to the House of Representatives, what they propose there is not to elect a President of the United States, which is the constitutional duty there to be performed, but to prevent the Republicans, who there are the largest power in the suffrage of the States, from electing their candidate and thus the Constitution is to be again defeated, a duty avoided and the truth is, gentlemen, that they propose to carry on this entire controversy for these great offices against the Constitution, against the Union, and so far as their action goes, their success will be in the fact that for the first time in the history of the country no President of the United States will have been elected anywhere. [Applause.]

Now, this is literally true. The whole scheme and plan is absolutely to defeat both plans of the Constitution for the election of a President, and then in the Senate where no President ever can be, or ever was intended to be, or ever by the Constitution was proposed to be elected, they shall elect a Vice-President, turn him into a President by operation of the law. [Applause.] Gentlemen, which of these opposing forces (for there are three parties on one side and one on the other) understands the Constitution and their duty, and which of them proposes to fulfill it?

Now, in every canvass for the Presidency while the suffrage remains free, and no power overawes the exercise of it on the part of the citizen, there must be involved to secure the attention of our vast population, and to attract their confidence and their votes to the one side or the other, some great sentiment, or some great interest that shall be disseminated, spread and enforced upon the popular mind to divide the country, and so by the major voices to carry into power one or the other of the parties espousing one or the other of these sentiments. This sentiment to be available for the purposes of a Presidential canvass, must be something that is vital to the Constitutional Government under which we live, and as extensive as the people whose suffrages are to determine the question. No local matters have a proper place in the Presidential canvass -- no State interests force themselves upon the attention of the people so as to disturb or be of any use in the canvass for the Presidency. We inherit the idea from our British ancestry, that with every general election for Parliament-whatever the purposes of the party may be, they must go to the country upon some vital interest of the British Constitution.

Now, these are two great sentiments to which the hearts of the people always have responded -- to which they will respond in this canvass -- to which, I trust, they will always respond while we are a nation, and neither our prophetic nor our imaginative vision carries us beyond that time. They are the two great sentiments of liberty, to which we owe our birth as a nation, which shines in every line of the Declaration of Independence, the great statute of our national existence. The love of liberty pervades the people, and, touched by that chord, it throws on the one side or the other of it the opposing parties, and who rallies in the loudest and clearest tones for liberty will be likely to carry the day. But there is another sentiment which, as well as this one I have named, forms the spirit of the people there is another sentiment which is called home in this pressure upon the consciences, the feelings and the intelligence of the people, and that is what relates to the actual body politic, the national life, the Constitution of our liberties to the form and frame of the American Union. That is a sentiment which never can be, and never shall be disparaged in any canvass with which you or [. ] any Republican, has aught to do. For, if liberty being inspiring spirit of our national life, the Union is the bodily frame of that life itself, and without it we have no country. It matters but little to us w[. ] our free, happy, powerful and prosperous national life, [. ] its death-blow from a wound inflicted upon [. ], or from a wound inflicted upon the national being of the Governmental. Poland, dismembered, equally with France, imperialised, has lost its national life. While we contend for the one sentiment with greater arder, as it seems exposed, let us never doubt. -- let us never fail to admit, that with a nation which comes to its[. ] when its frame is destroyed, whether the soul of liberty be separated from the body of its Constitution, or the body of its Constitution be discovered and dismembered, so that liberty can no longer inspire and move it, national death and destruction are equally the result. Accordingly we shall find, gentlemen, that in these great agitations of an intelligent and free people, which form the working forces of a Presidential canvass, one or the other of these great sentiments is sought to be availed of for party success I do not say dishonestly, -- sometimes honestly, sometimes otherwise, for sometimes there is an enormous gap in the process of reasoning which suggests that certain principles will be promoted by the election of a certain candidate. When you see in a little petty town election, over a petty poll booth, that widespread premise and this mean conclusion that "all the friends of the Union and the Constitution will vote for John Smith for Constable," you sometimes conclude that there is, possibly, a gap which may excuse a friend of the Constitution and the Union from voting for Smith. [Laughter.] But, nevertheless, some connection is to be preserved, and you must judge, and the people do judge, whether in the watchword and promises of a party, there is a fair and reasonable association with the success of the candidates. Look at the various parties that are before the people. I will state with candor, and certainly with no intention to impute wrong sentiments, my views of the various parties, and I do say that we find arrayed in those mottoes and watchwords, sentiments which define and fairly represent the objects and purposes, the moving and controlling feelings that actuate the parties now before the people.

There is a small party which I have not yet named, and which has its candidates before the people -- a party which seems wholly devoted to the inspiration of the single idea of liberty, and which seems to me to have failed in a true-courageous comprehension of the duty of American citizens in this behalf. I am sure I don't know precisely by what name this party is called now sometimes it has been called the "Liberty Party" by its opponents it has generally been called the "Abolition Party," and sometimes the "pure Anti-Slavery Party." GERRIT SMITH, I believe, is its candidate for the Presidency. Now I am inclined to think that, so absorbing, so controlling, has this party regarded the sentiment of Liberty as running through even the abject class of our population, in certain States of our Union, they really do give it predominance and preeminence over the sentiment of Union and that, if they could have their own way, and had to choose whether they would carry on to its final triumphant success, this principle of Liberty at the sacrifice of the Union itself, they would be obliged fairly to say that Liberty or Disunion was the feeling and hope of their hearts. I don't criticise the sentiment. It is an honest, manly and brave sentiment, and whenever honest, manly and brave sentiments are avowed and enforced before this people by the fair arts of public influence, I have not a word to say against them, nor a frown to give to their supporters. I think, however, that the members of this party fail of their full duty. They do not, perhaps, love liberty too much, but they do not appreciate the fact that the Union is at the bottom of liberty, all that we have or may have, and that that liberty which cannot be promoted in the Union cannot be promoted out of it. [Applause.]

There is another party which, I am bound to say, has given so unfortunate, and, as it seems to me, so monstrous a perversion to the sentiment of liberty, that it is willing to adopt, and really does feel the sentiments expressed by the motto or watchword: "Slavery or Disunion." This party has for its candidates BRECKINRIDGE and LANE. Now, gentlemen, here is a party that discards and tramples on these two sacred sentiments alike. So absorbed is it in the special interests of property -- or let them call it what they choose, I have selected their own nomenclature, -- that they will advance it before and beyond either of the sentiments, "Liberty" or "The Union of the States." And they give us the proposition, I think, by their orators, by their political courses, by their platforms, and by their conduct generally, to understand that they now give in their adhesion to the interests of Slavery so far, so vehemently, and so exclusively, that if their plans, their hopes and their sentiments be not adopted by the American people, and confirmed by the suffrages of the voters of the country, thus failing of Slavery's prosperity and advancement, they will take disunion and its consequences.

Now, there is the Douglas Party at the South and the North, which gives such a predominance to the sentiment of Union, and yet adhering to this great interest of Slavery which is in our politics. It may be said that they shape their formula in this wise: Slavery and Union that is to say, not that they prefer Slavery, but that the Union is a sentiment so strong, and Slavery an interest so strong, that they have not the courage, the faith, the reliance upon free principles sufficient to lead them to adopt more devotion even to the Union, and that Union and Slavery be voted up or down -- to live and thrive, or dwindle and decay -- as may be, is their contrivance for the safety and honor of the country.

There is a party which is represented by the respectable candidates -- Messrs. BELL and EVERETT -- which, at least in the Free States, does not seem to put itself upon the same footing in these regards as the Douglas Party though, so far as I can discover, the same political organization in the Slave States seems to have about the same sentiment of Slavery and Union, without Slavery or Disunion, and yet not coming to any higher standard than Slavery and Union. This party in the Free States, represented by Messrs. BELL and EVERETT, so far as I can see, is so absorbed and so subjugated to this sentiment of Union -- a wise and patriotic sentiment certainly, when not pushed to extravagance -- that it is willing to put itself upon a footing of political servility to the institution of Slavery. Will it adopt, will it vindicate, will it espouse, as its choice and preference, for the sake of Union and what it deems peace, harmony and quiet, political servility, and surrender those free and spontaneous sentiments which all free men feel on this subject? But "political servility and Union" are what they are willing, in substance and effect, to present for the good of the country, and it is the best which they, at this juncture, can do.

Now, gentlemen, the Republican Party, in my judgment, is ready to take hold with confidence, with thinness, with energy and with faith in the people and in the principles of our fathers, of the two great sentiments, that divide sometimes, but really should always unite the parties of the American people, and to inscribe as the legend of its banners in this controversy, "Liberty and Union now and forever, one and inseparable." [Applause.] Do we flatter ourselves or disparage our opponents in this distribution and division of these great sentiments that are our common birthright? I know that Republicans are for liberty and for the Union I know that they ask no greater liberty and no greater power for themselves in the regions of our country where they live than they are willing to accord to their fellow men in every portion of our fair land. [Applause.] I know that it is a prevalent, fervent and predominant sentiment of the Republican heart, that when we get outside of that natural feeling which we give to our birth-place, when we get outside of that allegiance which we owe to that political community known as the State in which we were born and in which we live -- outside of that circumscription which nature and political duty draw closely around us, I know that there is not a Republican within sound of my voice that does not rejoice in, and hope for, and plan for, and work for, under these life-giving sentiments of "Liberty and Union," the good of Alabama and Louisiana as much as for the good of Vermont or Michigan. [Applause.]

Our sentiments are not sectional. The life that we draw from them will be communicated to every portion of our land, whenever those portions of our land are ready to imbibe their life-giving influence. And we will disseminate them we will uphold them we will maintain the conflict in favor and for the good of all parts of the country.

It is said, gentlemen, that the Republican Party, if represented rightly by this sentiment of liberty, and this love of Union, is a "one-idea" party. There is but one duty confided to us in this canvass, and that is the election of a President and Vice-President, and that duty performed, we shall have performed our obligation to the Constitution of the United States. But let us see whether we are a "one-idea" party, and whether it is a reproach. If it be founded on an idea, it is an idea large enough, when divided up, to furnish the antagonistic principles of three other parties. [Laughter.] That is something in size and bulk for an idea. Is it then to be objected to that it has not an idea that is in the people's heads and hearts? Gentlemen, who make parties, platforms, and combinations, and who furnish sentiments? One would suppose that they were made to order by some superior power, and were let down upon the people to be adopted under the direction of leading politicians. The people have the ideas and the sentiments, out of which moral forces and politics are directed and controlled. [Applause.] And when a party on one side, or the other, has the ideas and the sentiments that the people have in their heads and hearts, it has enough for that canvass. Some of our respectable friends, who don't like agitation, are constantly asking us, "Why will you divide the people on the question of Slavery? Why don't you divide them upon something that they all agree about?" [Laughter.]

This is all childish nonsense, and he who thinks that he can by whistling raise the wind to carry his craft across the Atlantic, will think that in political juntas you can agree to suppress a sentiment or an idea, and get up some other for popular use. So much for that. But the idea is a large one, and it is connected inseparably with these two sentiments of our love of country and our love of liberty, and, therefore, the purposes and principles of the Republican Party do rightly invoke these united sentiments. The idea, gentlemen, is that Slavery, whether it be good or bad, politic or pernicious, is local and that free labor is the national basis upon which we build up wealth and power. [Loud applause.] Now that is the idea, and it is an idea large enough for any nation to have for a four years' canvass. [Applause.]

Let us see how this question arose -- how much of fact, and fact that cannot be disfigured or kept out of view, there is in it, and about which all must agree. The great fact is, gentlemen, that the population of our country includes within its bosom four millions of persons of African descent. There is the fact. No Southern statesman or politician can disguise it no Northern statesman can influence or pervert it. Here they are. What have we to do about them? I mean "we" as a nation -- you and I in our political duties, not in our philanthropy, with our sympathies or our moral and religious influences but what have we to do with the fact politically, in our duty as citizens under the Federal Constitution? That is the question that divides the country.

In the first place, gentlemen, these blacks arc for the most part in the condition of Slavery. They have derived that condition, and it is maintained over them by the force of the laws of the separate States in which they live. I need not say to you, gentlemen, that we should have no confusion of ideas about what liberty and Slavery are. They have nothing magical about them. The difference between them, wide and deep as it may be, exists wholly by positive law. Why are we free? Why do we call ourselves free? What do we mean by freedom, except that we live in communities whose laws leave us free, as God made us, deducting only that small contribution from individual liberty which is necessary for the common right and the common safety? It is in our laws, -- in our magistrates who protect those laws, -- in the processes of those laws which give to the feeblest the support of the whole community in defence of his rights, -- that we are freemen. Sir JAMES MCINTOSH, than whom there never was a clearer thinker in these matters, defines liberty as "security against wrong." That is liberty. Think it over as to what is your condition of liberty. It is security against wrong. You are permitted to work out your sentiments and the purposes of your nature, as an individual, against wrong and oppression. Now, Slavery -- Slavery is a word that trips lightly on the tongue, but Slavery is nothing but the local condition in which the slaves are, by power of the Government under which they live and which controls them -- and perhaps as ready and complete a definition of Slavery as has yet been given would be the converse of the definition of Liberty. Slavery, gentlemen, in essence, in practical abjectness and misery, is helplessness against wrong, [applause,] and that is the legal condition in which it is placed in the communities where it is cherished and maintained as a social institution. I need not say to you that, as a political duty, we have nothing to do with the passing of the laws in the States where Slavery exists -- and that ends that subject. Where, then, does the conflict arise which causes this diversity of sentiment and this conflict of political action? Why, when this black population is to overflow the bounds of these separate independent States, by the laws of which its condition is fixed, then it becomes a question for those unto whose territories it flows to say what shall be done with it and if it overflows into the territories of the United States of America, then you and I and every citizen has a political responsibility and a political duty, because then it is beyond State jurisdiction, and is within the jurisdiction of the United States of America. And as it is a condition that it must have the support of the law to exist in fact, it must be governed and regulated by the laws of the Government having jurisdiction -- even the Territories into which it overflows. Thus, you and I, in common with the citizens of Alabama and Missouri, of Massachusetts and Illinois, have our say, our opinions, our votes, our action, and our principles upon the subject. Now, can any one gainsay this? Gentlemen, as I have said, the idea being that Slavery is local, and not national, the moment you remove or attempt to remove this African population out of the States in which they are held in bondage, into your Territories, under your Government, under your laws, whether that population shall be held in Slavery, -- kept in the condition of helplessness against wrong, or whether that population comes in the Territory to be lifted into freedom and protected by security against wrong, is precisely the duty and the action that you must meet, whatever the consequences, under your duty to the Constitution and in maintenance of your share of the citizen's protection and defence of the Government.

Now this conflict has been said to be irrepressible, and various authors of this doctrine of the irrepressibility between the interests of slave labor and of free labor have been brought before the notice of the people. Gov. SEWARD was reproached with having in 1858 invented this doctrine of an "irrepressible conflict." Since that time Mr. LINCOLN has been put forward as the candidate of the Republican Party, and so that reproach, if it be a reproach, as our opponents intended it, has been transferred to Mr. LINCOLN, and they say that he, two years earlier than Gov. SEWARD, was the author of that doctrine.

Well, gentlemen, I happen to have a little extract from a newspaper which will show you another origin for this doctrine of the "irrepressible conflict" between the forces of slave and free society. The Richmond Enquirer, before SEWARD and before LINCOLN laid down this proposition:

"Two opposite and conflicting forms of society cannot, among civilized men, coexist and endure. The one must give way and cease to exist -- the other become universal. If free society be unnatural, immoral and unchristian, it must fall and give way to slave society -- a social system as old as the world, as universal as man." [Laughter.]

And we take that issue. If free society is "unnatural, immoral and unchristian," which the Virginia editor says it is, then by the highest duty to ourselves and to all men, we must be turned into slaves. There certainly is an "irrepressible conflict" stated.

Well, gentlemen, these may be called the observers of this "irrepressible conflict" between the forces of slave labor and free labor -- between societies respectively built upon these two opposite systems the author of that conflict is He who mysteriously framed this union of the body and of the soul which constitutes the human race. [Applause.] For in the last analysis the difference between slave labor and free labor is this, that a power superior to the individual man seizes upon him, degrades his labor, stimulates, enforces, and employs all his energy which allies him with the brute, his muscles, his nerves, his power as of oxen and of horses, in the labor that the slave owner gets by tasks from his abject dependants. Free labor is informed by man and directed by will. It is the application of the whole man by himself -- the master of his own limbs by the intellect, the passions with which God has given him to rule his own body. And it is quite obvious that so long as there be these two methods, by one of which man is degraded to the level of the brute, and his labor to the level of brute labor, and by the other he is the master of his own body, and is lifted up by his own effort into moral, intellectual and social development and improvement, they "cannot, (as the Editor of the Richmond Enquirer says,) among civilized men, coexert and endure." [Applause.] Let us see why.

Let us see what are some of the trivial objections which are made sometimes by honest-minded men. "What is the objection," they say, "that you free people of the North have to going into a Territory and running the forces of free society parallel with the system of slave labor?" Why, the moral conflict between them is utterly incompatible with the peaceful coexistence of the two together. I mean while they run on as forces conflicting and striving for the mastery, for I admit that the actual condition of the slaves, when it is settled that the institution is to pass away, may temporarily be left subordinate to and be controlled by the great forces of free society. Why, gentlemen, just take the two systems of the chaste Christian single marriage and that of polygamy -- the system of one society which treats woman as an equal -- the sharer of the heart of her husband, the mother of his children and the part of his household -- and the system of polygamy, that treats her as the slave of his passions and makes her subject to his caprices and then ask the free people of the North and the free people of the South (for in this question there is no difference of opinion between the two sections) what objection there is to polygamy occupying a Territory, and why they cannot go and live side by side with this institution. Gentlemen, nature is stronger than politicians. [Applause.] She will have her own way. Now, practically, is not this so? How happens it that the overflowing population of the sterile soil and inclement climate of New-England States, and of this and other Northern States, have in the earlier days, when the impenetrable West imposed such barriers to the progress of civilization -- now happens it, I ask, that that movement did not turn down into Virginia, the Carolinas, Alabama and Georgia? The laws of our country extended over the whole the genial climate and fertile and prolific soil invited the industry of the free. Why did they not go there? Why did they shoot clear across the continent, as if there had been a wall of fire drawn on the northern boundary of Virginia? And why, not until they had occupied to the Pacific Ocean, did the returning wave seek to encroach upon the line of territory that Slavery had claimed for its own?

Now, gentlemen, you see that this is not a fictitious issue. It is a real issue. It is deep, permanent, as necessary as the principles of human nature. You see that besides being a question of political duty and political right, in which we are concerned, it is a question whether our Territories shall be cultivated by free or by slave labor it is a question of vital importance to the overflowing tide of our own population, because the presence of Slavery, as an established and controling institution, necessarily drives the free population away from the reach of it.

And, gentlemen, it happens to be a little odd, with these sentiments, that the most extraordinary charges are made upon the Republican Party. Our fellow-citizens of the Slave States tell us, in justification of the system of Slavery, that it is the only system compatible with the coexistence of the same races in the same community -- that is, their coexistence in at all equal numbers. That may be. We do not dispute with them upon that point. But we say, that being admitted, they cannot extend themselves into the Territories of the United States, and carry with them their black population, without having Slavery, maintained and protected. Well, our principles are opposed to the maintainance and protection of Slavery in the Territories. That we avow: that they complain of but that they understand. Yet you will find in the organs of opinion in the Southern States, and in their organs having affinity with them in the Free States, they charge that the Republican Party is in favor of Africanizing America. The policy and principles of the Republican Party to keep slaves out of the Territories, in the opinion of our Southern friends, is to keep the African race out of the Territories, while their principles would carry it in. And yet they say, and while they charge it in effect as a fault of ours, that our principles would fill the Territories with white people and would keep the slaves out, that we are in favor of Africanizing the Continent. The extension of the institution and of the population would be promoted and advanced by the policy and principles of the parties which are opposed to us, and we who stop the tide cannot be accused of favoring the extension of that population. [Applause.]

And here, gentlemen, I may notice a proposition which has been used by many persons to soothe their own consciences for their indifference on the subject of Slavery, and that is, that the carrying of the institution of Slavery into new Territories does not increase the number of Slaves. They are opposed to increasing the number of slaves, but they say that the extension of the institution does not increase the number of slaves. [Laughter.] A very respectable, intelligent gentleman, whom I ever desire to mention with honor, Mr. JAMES T. BRADY, the candidate of one of the divisions of the Democratic Party for Governor of this State, in a public speech that he recently delivered suggested that idea. Why, gentlemen, what can be more abhorrent to the plainest principles of social economy but that the extension of the area over which a race is distributed does not tend to their increase. Whenever Mr. BRADY will be of the opinion that the descendants of Irishmen are no more in the world than they would have been if they had always been confined within the limits of Ireland whenever we shall feel that there are no more descendants of Englishmen than if this wide Continent had not been opened to that population, but they had all been confined within the island of Great Britain whenever it shall be true that there are just as many Morgan horses in the world as if they had always been confined to farm-work in Vermont, and had not been distributed over the country for the luxury of its population everywhere whenever it shall be demonstrated that there would be just as many perch in the world if they had always been shut up in Owasco Lake, and not distributed in rivers and lakes everywhere, then I say there will be something in the idea that the extension of Slavery into Territories does not tend to increase the number of slaves. [Applause.]

And now, gentlemen, there is another question which I desire to meet fairly and squarely, and that is the imputation against the Republican Party as favoring negro equality. I take it that the Republican Party, and that every man whose mind and nature has been developed by education and Christianity, feels that because of the actual condition of feebleness, of ignorance and of degradation of anybody, he never gains any right, even by the weight of his little finger, to add to that depression and misfortune. [Applause.] And I take it that it will be a long time before it will be a mark of nobility of spirit and manliness of character to add to the misfortunes and feebleness of the humble and distressed. [Renewed applause.] I believe that it is a fundamental principle of civilized society and the Christian religion, that as before the eye of God, so in the judgment of the law, all men who are men are to have equal rights of protection. Now, when I am making this suggestion about the Republican Party's notion of the equality of negroes, God forbid that any man should say that I, professing, as I do, to speak with deliberation, with circumspection, with a just regard of duty to myself and to you, should ever be quoted as opposed to that kind of equality to the lowest and feeblest of the human race. But let us look a little at this subject of negro equality from points of view which do not occur to our Southern friends. They do not complain that the law which excluded Slavery or slaves from the territory would prevent white men from going there, except in a particular relation, to which I shall advert. So far, then, as whites are concerned, the white man who chooses to go alone from South Carolina, or from Alabama, or from Kentucky, would have just as good a chance under this principle of exclusion of slaves, as a man from Vermont, from Pennsylvania, or from Ohio. But they say we white men of the South cannot go into a new Territory without our blacks carrying us. [Laughter.] And there is the difficulty. Now, which is the master of the situation and of the future of that man -- the white man or the black man who must carry him? [Laughter.] You remember how BENJAMIN FRANKLIN aided the diffusion of universal suffrage, when there was a property qualification which he wished to abolish, by a suggestion he made in regard to the property voting rather than the man. He says, "You require a man to possess $50 worth of property before he can vote." Now, to-day, a man professes himself to exercise the right of suffrage. He is asked whether he has $50 worth of property. He says, "Yes -- I have a jackass that is worth $50." He votes. Well, at the next election the man comes up again, but his jackass having died he cannot vote. "Now," asks Dr. FRANKLIN, "which was it that voted the year before, the man or the jackass?" [Loud laughter.]

Now, gentlemen, pursuing the tenor of these suggestions, if in the Southern States they have a class of the population in subjection to whom the movement of the white people must be made, it is very easy to see that in certain most important relations this population is the master of the movements of the whites. [Applause.]

But again, they say, that in their estimation a mixed population of whites and slaves, as a unit, is a better population than an equal number of people on one side of the line, all white. Well, gentlemen, let us suppose there are 1,000 white people forming a little community in the State of Ohio, and that on the opposite bank of the river, in Kentucky, there is another community made up of 500 whites and 500 negroes and this latter community, they say, is stronger, wiser, safer, and better community than the 1,000 on our side. Well, gentlemen, when some British officers were trying to excuse the defeat of one of their frigates by an American frigate having a smaller crew, the Englishmen retorted by saying that two-thirds of the crew of the American ship were Englishmen and Irishmen. "Yes," said the American, "and it was with just the other third that made the difference. [Laughter.] Now, take from the one community, of 1,000 white men, 500 white men, and you have 500 white men remaining. But from the other community of 500 whites and 500 blacks, you take the 500 whites and you have 500 blacks remaining. It is that dilution of the black population that they consider a larger and better clement in society than an equal number of white people on one side. [Laughter.] That is not only negro equality but negro superiority. [Applause.] We submit to the argument without ill-nature, because we are satisfied that it is quite the other way.

Now, gentlemen, this subject of equality has been broached on the opposite side, by a very distinguished gentleman in the Democratic Party, a very eminent lawyer and a very close reasoner -- I mean Mr. CHARLES OɼONOR. He, in endeavoring to attract the attention, favor and support to the institution of Slavery from the people of the State of New-York, put to them this proposition: "The condition of Slavery at the South is precisely, in the eye of the law, the condition of your sons here, while they are under age the only difference between the lad of 20 at the North and the slave at the South being that the lad is to be emancipated at the age of 21, while the slave continues in the same condition for life." This monstrous proposition, gentlemen, is not for me to dissect or to refute. Its absurdity is obvious: but let me say to gentlemen, when they are using this reckless argument, that it is just as much an assertion of the equality of condition to say that the white man is on the same level with the black as it is to say that the black is on the same level with the white. There is no difference in that respect.

So you see, gentlemen, that none of these efforts to divert the public mind and the public attention from the real inquiry will avail anything. We are a political party. We act in our Federal relations within our political duty. We act upon the subject of Slavery within the Territories according to our notions of the safety and true development of our country.

Now, there being this conflict, let us see who it is between. The ordinary phrase for it is that it is between the North and the South. Between the North and South? This "irrepressible conflict" has but the occupation of the territory by these contending tides of population. Well, gentlemen, there is great danger in generalities. What is the North? What is the South? Where is the line drawn? The phrases have no meaning in our political Constitution. There are no such powers. It answered very well in geographical description while the population of this country was confined to the margin of the Atlantic Ocean. But what has become of the division between the East and the West? We reach now from shore to shore of the two great oceans of the world. We have the great Mississippi Valley. We have a vast region of interior territory. Thence the division between the North and the South does not express the conflicting parties at all. Then they will say that it is between the Slave States and the Free States, but that is not so. If it were so, why then, under our system of politics, which gives the predominance of Federal votes the power of determining the question, it would have been settled long ago: there are 120 votes from the Slave States and 183 from the Free States and it is very easy to see that a conflict dividing the parties of the country by that line, would be very soon ended.

No, gentlemen, these are cunning disguises by which this conflict is sought to be made geographical, or sought to be circumscribed on the one side or on the other by the demarcation of State lines. It is not so. The controvery is between the friends and supporters of Slavery in the United States of America wherever they are and the opponents of that institution who regard it as dangerous and injurious to the common benefit of the country. [Applause.] That is it. You cannot gain the credit of a great division of the country, or of great bodies of States. Look at it. I take it that in our midst Mr. OɼONOR is as great an advocate, promoter and defender of the institution of Slavery as Mr. YANCEY, who lives in Alabama. I take it that Mr. CUSHING, of Massachusetts, is as vehement, as turbulent, as obstroperous an advocate of Slavery as Mr. TOOMBS, of Georgia. I take it that Gov. SEWARD is no more fiery, or no more bold an opponent of the extension of Slavery than CASSIUS M. CLAY, of Kentucky. [Applause.] I take it that Mr. EVERETT betrays the hopes of freedom by his timidity in the very citadel of Boston, and that WINTER DAVIES beats down the proud pretensions of Slavery in the City of Baltimore. [Loud cheers.] Nay, St. Louis is to-day a more Republican city than New-York and Baltimore, considering its position, is as bold at least as Boston. [Applause.] Now let us understand how we are grouped. So, too, there are large classes of our population -- the slave-traders of our Northern ports -- the merchants who fit them out -- their crews, and all the bangers on of that interest -- the great share of the bankers, the great share of the moneyed interests of the Northern States, -- these are combined with the interests of the slaveholders in the support and maintenance of Slavery. A great many of the farmers, a great many of the honest, plain, poor but hardy mechanics of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, are opponents of Slavery and Slavery extension, and they act and feel with the Republican Party. [Applause.]

The division is of sentiment and of opinion and not of sections, or of States. [Loud applause.] Now, that being the division, you will perceive that whether or not one sentiment or the other can make headway, develop itself and find speech and act politically for the furtherance of it in one or the other part of the country, must depend upon the laws, upon the habits and upon the feelings of the people. Thus here, as I have stated, distinguished men advocate Slavery openly and fairly. Mr. OɼONOR, to whom I have alluded, stated to a large New-York audience that the question was, whether Slavery was just or not -- that if Slavery was just, then they were right on their side -- that if Slavery was unjust, then Gov. SEWARD and all his followers were right. He laid down the proposition to be enforced and accepted by us that Slavery was just, benign and beneficent that only those who were of that way of thinking should sustain the Democratic Party, and that all of the opposite opinion were rightfully on the Republican side. Mr. OɼONOR is a clear-thinking, honest man, who utters his sentiments freely on these questions, and no one attempts to stop him from exercising his right of speech. But how is it in the Southern States? Do they enforce their views in the general way of argument, suggestions, and fair and honest influence? There was an humble mechanic, a man of Irish origin, who went to the State of South Carolina to work as a bricklayer in the capital of that State -- I mean THOMAS POWERS. He ventured a suggestion that Slavery was not "just" not "benign," not "beneficent" -- an honest opinion, doubtless, and one which he gathered from observation. What were the arguments that were used with him to satisfy him that he ought to change his opinion? Why he was taken -- he was beaten with many stripes until the blood ran he was tarred, he was feathered, he was starved, he was insulted, he was hooted from the community and thus he was convinced, I suppose. [Laughter.] The stripes exhibited to him the manifest justice of Slavery, the boiling tar exhaling the odor of its benignity, and the feathers descending in gentle mantle of its beneficence. [A VOICE -- "Hit him again."] Now, Mr. OɼONOR and Mr. POWERS, running in different lines of reason and argument would very likely come to opposite conclusions. [Applause and laughter.] No, gentlemen, our Constitution makes our suffrage free -- leaves it to be settled by honest argument -- by all the arts of fair and honest influence and whenever the speech and the acts, the conduct and the character of the Republican Party can be made known in the communities that cherish and defend Slavery, you may rely upon it that there will be as many to uphold and defend free laber there as there are to defend and protect slave labor here. [Applause and cheers.]

Another very cutting sarcasm that we suffer from the voters of the States that have established and now maintain Slavery, to uphold their favorite institution, and from the Democratic orators, too, is, that we are a hypocritical race that we are fond of money above every other thing, and trample, for gain-sake, our principles under our feet that we fit out slave-traders that our merchants furnish the means, the credit, and the insurance and they say: "Look now at the North, which professes to be opposed to Slavery, and yet furnishes the means for this abominable traffic." Well, there is no fusion. It is not the North that is opposed to Slavery it is the people, who have the sentiments of Freedom, who are opposed to Slavery and those who have not those sentiments are engaged in anything, if you please, that the law will tolerate, or that the law will wink at, in advancement of Slavery. But let me ask that Democratic orator how many of those people that he thus classifies and stigmatizes, does he suppose vote the Republican ticket? [Laughter.] Whenever Republicans are caught in the service of Slavery we shall hang our heads? But when the orator who denounces our wickedness, counts among the voters of his party, captain and crew, the owner and merchant, the banker and district-attorney, the officers and marshal, and the whole concern engaged in prosecuting, promoting, defending, protecting or winking at the abomination, it is for them to cease their accusations. [Applause.]

Now, gentlemen, after all, coming back to the Territories, the question is, are we planning, are we executing any oppression on our fellow-citizens of the Southern States by maintaining the rights of free labor, and our proposition that the Territories shall be occupied by free laborers, by free citizens from Georgia, from South Carolina, from Massachusetts, from New-York, and where not? That depends, it is said, upon the Constitution of the United States of America and the propositions of the different Platforms on this subject are put forth by the different parties to gain the adherence of the people. I will ask your attention first to the propositions of the different sections of the Democratic Party, and then to our own, saying first a word or two on the Platform of the Constitutional Union Party, which has given us no interpretation of the Constitution, and no views concerning it. It is a mistake to suppose that the Constitutional Union Party have confined themselves to declaring as their only sentiments, "The Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the Laws." They have gone further. They have said that it is the dictate of duty and patriotism to have no other sentiments at all. [Laughter.] None whatever can we have except what are embraced in the formula. "The Union, the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws." Well, "many men of many minds," and so long as Constitutions. Governments and laws are open to construction and opinion, if you want us to know what your opinions are you must use some other phrase or terms than those which are common to us all -- "the Union, the Constitution and the enforcement of the laws." [Applause.] We all go in for that. [Applause.]

Now, the Breckinridge Party say this:

"That the Government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional and temporary and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights either of person or property being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation.

That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends."

Now, gentlemen, you will notice that there was the same indisposition with the framers of these resolutions to mention the word "Slavery" that is known to have prevailed with the framers of the Federal Constitution. They determined that it should not be used, and for the best of reasons. The abhorrence of Slavery, the estimate of it as a temporary, exceptional foreign institution made our fathers to sedulously omit from the whole framework of the Constitution the name of Slavery and slaves, and the fear of an intelligent free people led the framers of the Breckinridge Platform to leave out the word Slavery, and to prevent it from peeping out in any line or syllable. It was only by covering up the question under the abstract idea of the rights of property that they could get a hearing and secure anything but the merest indifference and contempt for their suggestion that the Constitution of the United States created, protected, defended or required from Congress the creation, the protection or defence of Slavery.

Well, now if you will take the Republican ideas about what is property under the Constitution, and what are persons under the Constitution, we will have no difficulty in saying that it is the duty of the Federal Government to protect the rights of persons and property in the Territories of the United States.

What is the Republican doctrine about protecting the right of property and persons in the Territories? The eighth section of the platform adopted at Chicago says:

"That the normal condition of all the Territory of the United States is that of Freedom that as our Republican fathers when they had abolished Slavery in all our national territories ordained that 'No person should be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law,' it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it and we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States."

Now the Republican doctrine is that by the Constitution of the United States slaves are persons and are not property that whenever they are named in that instrument they are so described as persons, and that in the spirit of our ancestors and in the records of their deliberations it is manifest everywhere that they would not admit into that Constitution even the word "servitude," much less "slavery," but only the word "service" and the only stringent clause of the Constitution is that which looks to the rendition of escaped fugitives from service. But I do not hesitate to say that the Breckinridge proposition entirely fails in covering the institution of Slavery because they put themselves upon the general notion and name of property and the Constitution of the United States nowhere, not in any line, not in any syllable, not by implication, not by possibility, stamps the character of chattel-property upon men, to be protected like bales of goods and hogsheads of sugar under the Federal jurisprudence as property. But if the Breckinridge proposition means to say that Congress and the Territorial Legislatures have no right to pass any laws impairing the rights either of person or property, in the general and extensive sense in which they use it. I do not hesitate to say it is the sheerest nonsense in the world. I should like to know what the whole function and duty, what the whole province, what the whole scope of enactments and of legislation are but the subjects of person and property? I should like to know what there is in New-York to legislate about if it is not persons and property? I should like to know if the Government that governs cannot legislate about persons and property? Now, to say that the Congress of the United States and the Territorial Governments they create have sole sovereignty over the Territory, and yet cannot legislate about persons and property, why, in the name of Heaven, what can they legislate about? You must either have a Government or no Government. If you have got a Government, it can govern. Why do they not put the language so that it will read that though it is a Government, and can legislate about persons and property, it cannot legislate about slaves? Why don't they say that slaves are neither persons nor property, but are mixed up of both -- or take some other dogma, by which to make some magical exception of Slavery from the purview of legislation? It is a monstrous absurdity that a Government which rules a Territory does not include the dominion over slaves and their relations as well as white men and theirs -- that the Government of a Territory which by its laws and their administration in the course of justice may have every white man within it, cannot by any enactments alter the condition of a slave for a single hour or to a hair's breadth ameliorate his condition.


We have a Government or we have not a Government, and Slavery being a matter of positive law, is subject to the control of Congress. It is in these generalities where lurks the fraud that our opponents practice upon the intelligence of our people. The Douglas Platform is neither more nor less than this "inasmuch as differences of opinion exist in the Democratic Party, as to the nature and extent of the powers of the Territorial Legislature, and as to the Powers of Congress under the Constitution of the United States, over the institution of Slavery within the Territories -- Resolved. That the Democratic Party will abide the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on the questions of Constitutional law. [Laughter.]

Well, gentlemen, there is no objection to that. There is nothing Anti-Republican in that avowal. The Republican Party not only leaves Slavery but all their rights about persons and property before the Supreme Court of the United States, when they come before that tribunal. So, you will see, that our friends have either not spoken explicitly, definitely and with frankness in the statement of their views, or else they have been unfortunate in the selection of a penman or the selection of words to express their meaning, for the Republican Party accepts the United States Courts as the lawful expounders of their law in cases that come before them. And if Congress passes a law excluding Slavery from the Territories and a Slaveholder takes his slaves there and if a Republican lawyer brings a writ of habeas corpus, and a Republican Judge says the slave is free and you then go to the Circuit Court and the Republican Circuit Judge says also that the slave is free and if you then go to the Supreme Court of the United States, and that Court says the law is unconstitutional and the slave is not free, so long as the Government stands, so long as the judgment in that case stands, it shall be respected, as it was in the Dred Scott case, which made DRED SCOTT a slave until he fortunately died. But, on the other hand, if Congress passes a law that Slavery shall be established in the Territories, passes a slave code and a slave is there held, and a Republican lawyer brings a suit of habeas corpus, and a Democratic Judge in that Territory says the law is constitutional, and the slave is a slave, and a Democratic Circuit Judge, on an appeal, says the same thing, and the Supreme Court of the United States says that the law is unconstitutional and that the slave is a free man, then let the people submit to the Supreme Court of the United States. [Applause.] This idea of law and justice -- reverence to law and justice being an element to bind the consciences of the good, and never an element strong enough to control the wicked passions of the bad -- is a sentiment inconsistent with civil government and must be frowned upon every where. [Applause.]

When the Supreme Court of the United States makes this judgment in favor of liberty, then let it be obeyed. Now, gentlemen, how does it happen that the Supreme Court is such a favorite repository for the settlement of the questions of Liberty and Slavery? If you will notice, you will see that the Democratic Party, or the slaveholder's party, has shifted a good deal as to where it would trust this question. In the first place, Congress was the place to determine whether Slavery should or should not exist in the Territories. Large Democratic majorities, subservient Northern constituencies, unshamed-faced Northern Representatives, made Congress a safe depository for the question of Slavery. But all at once the Republican sentiment found strength enough to express itself, and to control one branch of Congress, and then our Southern friends thought that Congress had no power over the question of Slavery in the Territories! [Laughter.] Not they! The people of the Territories had the power under the "great principle of Squatter Sovereignty" -- the noble principle of the people controlling their own institutions, and Kansas was just the place to try it. Why did this principle suit Kansas? Why, because Kansas had a barrier of the Slave State of Missouri between it and freedom. The slave interest had free avenues to it for the overflowing dominion of Slavery, and they had violent men and violent passions, and wicked purposes, as power always has when it contends against right, and Squatter Sovereignty (not as Mr. DOUGLAS now puts it, giving the sovereignty to the people when they are a grown up community) meant, according to the pure Southern doctrine, that the first comers settled the question of Slavery or no Slavery, because Missouri could get there sooner than New-York or Massachusetts. [Laughter.] That was all very well. But we are a free people, and we can move whether black men will carry us or not -- [laughter and applause -- ] and though South Carolina and Missouri got there first, Massachusetts and New-York stayed there the longest. [Prolonged applause and cheers.] When, behold the change in the views of the slaveholding party -- "Was there ever such an abominable doctrine," they said, "as Squatter Sovereignty? It leads to all manner of violence and irritation between honest populations, turning them into voters and fighters, when they ought to be plowing and tilling the fields! How can American liberty stand the shock of Squatter Sovereignty?" [Laughter.] But we told you so, gentlemen -- we told you that Congress was the place to fight it out in words, where you could vote and we could vote, and the sober, honest people, who sent us, were waiting for the decision. We ask them to take the matter back before Congress. "Take it back! -- it is the unsafest and most unconstitutional place in the world! [Laughter.] If you attempt to pass a law in Congress to abolish Slavery in the Territories, we will dissolve the Union. The Supreme Court is the place."

Now, gentlemen, look at the unsleeping eye of Slavery -- that great powerful interest which, while we, a free, honest people, have been minding our own business, satisfying ourselves by sending John Jones or John Smith to Congress, has been seizing upon the power of the Government and the slave interest, with six millions of white people, and we with thirteen millions of white people -- they have got the Supreme Court of the United States, and they have got the Circuit Courts, too. Yes, oddly enough, it turns out that six millions of men have five Judges, while thirteen millions have but four. That fact explains the safeness of the depository of the question of Slavery with the Supreme Court of the United States, and DOUGLAS thinks, on the whole, that the Supreme Court of the United States is the best place to put it -- for the present. [Laughter.] And, gentlemen, is not this an enormous fraud upon an honest people who suppose that everybody is as honest as themselves? Why, the circuit of one of the Supreme Court Judges -- Judge MCLEAN -- contains four millions of white people while one circuit presided over by a Supreme Court Judge in the Slave interest, and which contains within its jurisdiction the States of Mississippi and Arkansas, contains a population of 450,000 whites. A Northern Judge being made equal to the task of presiding over a circuit having five millions of active, enterprising white people, while to do the business of a quiet, peace-loving slave-owner's, one judge is required for less than a half million of whites. But, furthermore, whenever the organization of the Supreme Court shall be adjusted, according either to the claims or the pressure of business, or the amount of population, there will be at least six of the nine judges representing the Free States, and three only representing the Slave States then we will agree that the Supreme Court of the United States of America is the place to settle the question of Liberty and of Property. [Applause.]

It is a great mistake, gentlemen, to suppose that there is anything irreverent in calculating upon changes of opinion in the Courts of Justice. Lawyers have a prevalent notion that they change pretty often, and suitors sometimes find that whereas on a particular point the Court in one case decides against them, when three months after the point is again raised, and they are in the opposite interest, it is decided against them too. And the Supreme Court of the United States -- that venerable tribunal in regard to which neither by tone, by gesture, nor by implication will I ever raise my voice, let them be judges of the cases that come before them -- let them decide them right or wrong -- a free people must maintain their judiciary or they have no defence for their liberties. [Applause.] But some years ago it was the settled law of that Court -- settled by the judgment of the great Chief Justice MARSHALL, and concurred in by his brother judges, that a corporation -- a banking corporation if you please -- could not be sued in a United States Court unless every stockholder was a citizen of one particular State. That was the law year after year, and the Court decided in favor of one interest and against another in numerous instances upon that point. But a few years later the Court turned right around and said that the previous decision was all a mistake -- and that the locality of the corporation gave the jurisdiction of the Court without reference to the residence of the stockholders, and that a New-York Bank could be sued in a New-York District, although the stockholders might live partly in Massachusetts and partly in South Carolina. This, gentlemen, shows that differences of opinion may gain ground on subjects that come before the Courts and when the great question on the meaning of the Constitution is argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in reference to whether slaves are property under the jurisprudence of the United States, let us hope at least that a different judgment will be given, and that the Court will not hold that Slavery can be maintained in the State of New-York under the sanction of the Federal Constitution. [Applause.]

Well, gentlemen, when opinions are all running one way it is very easy to say they will never change, but change is the law of politics as well as in all else, and the people who think it so dangerous and so threatening to our liberties and to the Constitution of this country, should the Republican Party be trusted with the rule in the Federal Government, when they see it carried on by the Republican Party even they may change their opinion. [Applause.] Changes quite as remarkable as that have occurred in subjects that are not connected with politics. We are all familiar now with the subject of railroads and the speed and safety of trains of cars. But let me read to you what a grave reviewer said thirty-five years ago in the first English periodical -- the London Quarterly. Said he: "We are not advocates for visionary projects that interfere with useful establishments. We scout the idea of a railroad as impracticable. * * * What can be more palpably absurd and ridiculous than the prospects held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast stage coaches? [Laughter.] We should as soon expect the people of Woolwich to suffer themselves to be fired off upon one of CONGREVE's ricochet muskets, as to put themselves at the mercy of such a machine going at such a rate." [Loud laughter.]

GEN. NYE -- That is conservatism.

Mr. EVARTS -- Now these conservatism people who have all the while been riding in the slow coaches of a Pro-Slavery administration have been scouting the idea of anything so "visionary" as a Republican Government interfering with "useful establishments," that is the Democratic Party,) and they think it would be as mad as for the people of this country to be "fired off from one of CONGREVE's ricochet rockets" as for them to trust LINCOLN and SEWARD with the conduct of this Government. [Laughter.] But they will live to travel fast and comfortably to the Pacific Railroad march of free labor and free institutions. [Applause.]

But, gentlemen, the real sectionalism of this country is the predominance of a particular interest that seeks its own aggrandizement at the expense and sacrifice of the common rights. Such, gentlemen, is the institution of slavery -- a State institution protected by laws -- a property institution, as they call it, but an institution that for its own aggrandizement has striven to control, and has controlled, and will control while it may, the destinies of this country. Why, see how these orators from the South talk about the great staple, cotton. Mr. YANCEY makes a speech to the merchants of New-York on the subject of cotton. "Cotton," he says, "is a great production." Yes, he thinks "it is the mistress or the master of the world." Well, Mr. YANCEY, that is all very fine but whose cotton is that? Whose cotton? -- why, the planters', of course. Yes, certainly it is. Each parcel of cotton that the planter raises, until he sells it, belongs to him but as an item of production of national wealth and of national power, whose cotton is it, Mr. YANCEY? Come, now, speak the truth? It is the cotton of the Nation to which we both belong. Yes, Mr. YANCEY, it is. We tolerate none of these separations of interest. You cannot provoke an envy at the prosperity, at the growth, at the wealth of any of the States, or at the powerful influence as an element of national strength and national wealth of the great product cotton. [Applause.] So, when you set up that there is any such section as the South that owns cotton, or as the North that owns ships, understand that the locality of property is not to be confounded with the universality of national interest, and that our ships are yours and your cotton is ours. [Applause.]

The Republican Party favors no such disposition of separating the interests of the country. I fear that the slaveholding interest has allowed itself to be drawn into too much of this sentiment, and that it looks really with more complacency at the building up of Manchester, Liverpool, Havre and Paris by the productions of the South than it does upon the building up of Boston, Lowell, New-York, or your own manufacturing towns. Let us have an end of this. Let us understand, then, the commercial question of this country, that, gifted with a domain that extends from ocean to ocean, inhabited by a people whose enterprise is baulked by no difficulties and runs into every peaceful avenue to development, formed by Providence with a hardy region that develops the man and the woman and the child who, in our part of the country, are able and willing to work with their hands and with their heads, having a vast grain-producing region in the valley of the Mississippi, and blessed by Providence with a monopoly, if you please, of the great staple for clothing the world, in your boasted cotton all these are, by honest American industry, laid down as the rich tribute to the genius of the Constitution, to the strength of the Union, and to the enlargement of free and prosperous society. [Loud applause.] But when you turn around and talk about cotton being master of the freemen of the world that the liberties of this country and the liberties of England hang, forsooth, upon a cotton thread when you ask us to adopt the doctrine that, instead of new shirts being made for men to wear, that men were made to wear new shirts, that cotton dominates over the free spirit of commercial nations, you mistake your audience for the utterance of such ideas. [Applause.] Why, gentlemen, this Mr. YANCEY would doubtless have us believe that the great Hercules of free labor that is to perform his twelve tasks of laying out this continent for the habitations of justice and freedom for generations unnumbered, yet to come, finds his final fate, as Hercules of old did in the shirt of Nessus, under whose debilitating poison he yielded up the vigor of his life. Mr. YANCEY, this great cotton shirt of yours that you have wrapped around the world, may keep it warm but it will never control the beatings of its heart. [Applause.]

Now, gentlemen, the present trouble with our friends in the Slave States is that when they come to complaining of difficulties and of apprehension, (and probably they feel them in some sort,) they do not seem to know what to propose, if anything, for us to do. They say if LINCOLN is elected, though everything is done the Constitution says shall be done, -- though he has the most votes, (and it is the duty of somebody to throw votes so as to elect somebody, if possible,) yet, after all this, if LINCOLN is elected, they will secede from the Union! Why? Is it not constitutional? Yes, it is constitutional, but it threatens all kinds of mischief. Well, we ask, what have you to say about it? Who, under Heaven, shall we vote for? Down South you do not seem to be agreed upon this subject. You are voting for BELL, you are voting for BRECKINRIDGE, you are voting for DOUGLAS. Do you expect to elect either of them? No. We want to beat LINCOLN! [Laughter.] Well, we might help you to beat LINCOLN, but whom shall we elect? Gentlemen, do you suppose that the public mind of the country is in a state to tolerate a discussion of this question, when there are votes enough to elect LINCOLN, and not votes enough to elect anybody else. They will say, "We must have a President, and we must have LINCOLN if we cannot have anybody else" and our answer must be, until you show some concurrence of sentiment, how do we know but that, if we should help you to elect DOUGLAS, you would not secede as you have threatened? And some of you say that DOUGLAS is worse than LINCOLN! Others of you, too, say that BRECKINRIDGE threatened the country and still a part of you say that BELL is a traitor to Southern rights! What a bad lot of candidates there is before the people. Let us make haste and elect one of them, and hope for "better luck next time." [Laughter and applause.]

But this is Mexican politics -- not ours -- this saying that it is Constitutional to elect anybody who has the most votes, and if it turns out to be a man they like they will submit, but if it is a man they don't like they will not. Now here is our country -- a great country, with a Constitution, a Union, prosperity, happiness, wealth, aggrandizement, power and fame. Are we to suffer these childish suggestions to interfere for a moment with our actions unless it be to offset it by a greater aggregate vote for the candidate upon whose election they would suggest a subversion of American liberty? Their principle is, that there is a power in this country that is stronger than the Constitution, and can subvert it and the laws, when we exercise our right of suffrage. If that be so, the sooner we find it out the better, and we will settle that matter in our turn, leaving as broad and firm and rich a legacy to our children as we received from our fathers. [Applause.]

Now, gentlemen, I shall detain you no longer, but with one suggestion shall leave this subject thus imperfectly treated, though I have trespassed much upon your patience. Lord BACON says that "When you would have a tree produce more fruit than it is used to do, it is not anything that you can do to the boughs, but it is stirring the soil and putting fresh moulds about the roots that must work it." Now, our fathers planted this tree of constitutional liberty to flourish forever, to domineer with its protecting shade over this whole continent, from ocean to ocean, and be a shelter for generation after generation of men that should be true to the principles of liberty and true to the principles of justice. The winds of agitation may sweep in the boughs and the ordinary contrivances of party may keep up, if you please, the appearance of active intelligent care of the government but I tell you that it has not produced as good fruit of late as it used to do. It is not anything that you do to the boughs, but it is stirring about the roots and extending the free soil from which they must derive nourishment that it is to reproduce and amplify forever and forever the growth, the beauty, the flower and the fruit which belong to its nature. [Loud applause and cheers.]

One thought on &ldquo William M. Evarts Jr. &rdquo

Bill Evarts was a wonderful, kind and accomplished man with a generous and intelligent spirit. His presence contributed greatly to this community. He will be missed. My condolences to his family.

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